10 Years a MaMa

November 19th is a special day in our household. It is the anniversary of the day our adoption agency called to inform us that we had become parents. Below is my account of what transpired 10 years ago today.

November 19, 2003

On the morning of the 19th I was frantic to hear news but had convinced myself that I wouldn’t hear anything. We had sent our paperwork 9 months prior to the Chinese office that handles adoption. In China, the office of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) matches couples with a child. Couples don’t pick babies off a profile list unless the child has a special need. “The Call”, as it is known, is when one gets a call from their adoption agency letting them know that China has matched them with a baby. This is also known as getting a referral. China typically releases referrals in batches by month at the same time to all agencies in the United States.

I knew that most of the other agencies had received their referrals. I was joyful yet skeptical at the same time. Problems do arise and it wasn’t unheard of to have a referral delayed for one reason or another.

I had agreed with H at the beginning of the process that he would be the one to get the call and he would then tell me. His rational was that HE wanted to be the one to tell me in person and not for me to hear it over the phone from a person I didn’t know. Actually, I think it was all a ploy for him to get the news first.

At around 9:30am he called to remind me not to get on the computer and read the China adoption message boards that I was addicted to. I thought it was a little odd so I asked if he had heard anything. He said no, he just didn’t want me to get my hopes up and be on an emotional rollercoaster the entire day as I read about people being matched with their babies. It took all of my will power to NOT turn that dang computer on. The phone rang. It was my friend, Susan. She was also using the same agency as we were and would be in our travel group. This was our conversation:

S: Welllll?
Me: Well what?
S: Well?
Me: Well what?
S: Oh, ummm.

I can’t remember what she said next but I do remember being very confused. I think I said something like “My little friend, H (my husband), must be hiding something.

I called H immediately and asked if he got a call from our agency.

H: No.
Me: No calls?
H: No.
Me: Nothing?
H: NO calls. I have to go back to work. <Click.>

I dropped the phone and started sobbing. Big long sobs. 10 years of unexplained infertility. Sob. 10 years of watching both of my Sister-In-Laws have babies and babies and babies. Sob Sob Sob. Every pregnancy magnified the great sorrow for what we deeply longed for. Sob Sob Sob Sob. Why, we wondered, had we been passed over? Sob Sob Sob Sob Sob.

I just knew our referral must have been left out. There HAD to have been a problem. I called our agency. I asked if referrals came in. Yes. Were any left out? No. I thanked her and hung up.

Relieved, I decided to go grocery shopping to get my mind off of everything. Great idea. I walked up and down the aisles like a zombie. I remember thinking to myself:

“This is the last time I’ll grocery shop without knowing what my daughter looks like.” 

“This is the last time I’ll decide between peanut butter brands without knowing what my daughter looks like.” 

“This is the last time I’ll push a wobbly wheel cart…”

I did that with everything.

When I got home I noticed H’s car in the driveway. Hmmmm, something was up. H home in the middle of a work day? Something was definitely up. I’m smart like that. I decided to play it cool and pretend I didn’t notice he was home. I hauled in all of the groceries and tried to act all cool. I didn’t say a word until each of the dozen bags were completely unloaded.

Me: So, have you heard anything?
H: No.
Me: (Now furious) You mean to tell me you DIDN’T get THE call?
H: No.
Me: (Now very squeaky and truly believing him) Really?
H: Honey, I really haven’t heard anything.
Me: (My mood swung back to pissed in an instant) Well, I’m going to call
them!! (I started to march over to where we keep our address book.)
H: Well, where’s the phone?

Where’s the phone? Where’s the phone? What the frickin’ frick does that mean? Quickly, I turned around to face him in order to give him my “what the f*** have you been smoking” look.

H: Take a look at the daughter God picked for you. 

In his hands he held up a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper he had printed Tootie’s photo on. Everything turned into slow motion. Again, I found myself on my knees sobbing.


My daughter. Our daughter.
So that’s what she looks like. She kind of looks like me.
She has that same goofy look I get. There she is.
Oh, look at her little hands. Her feet. Those lips. That fuzzy head.

Oh, look at that silly stuffed monkey.

Scan 1

From the moment I saw her I couldn’t imagine her looking any different. You would think I would be terribly mad at H. for putting me through all of that. I wasn’t. It didn’t matter. All of it melted away in an instant.

We hadn’t been passed over after all. I was in love. Nothing else mattered.

We had a daughter.


Moving Out of the Food Rut Hut


I’ve been cooking dinner for my family for over 20 years. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to efficiently get the grocery shopping done and a home cooked meal on the table. I do best at staying within a budget and not eating out when I have a plan for the week. I first learned this through Dave Ramsey and I subscribed to emeals.com for a couple of years. I guess I could have figured it out for myself however, if you’re anything like me, endless possibilities for meal planning is really overwhelming. So much so that I become paralyzed by it. There are so many decisions to make that I end up forfeiting to the handful of meals (my stand-bys) I know by heart. After 20 years I have dug a food rut for myself.

When we moved I asked my husband if he’d like to take up any new hobbies. He said that he’d really like to take a cooking class. When I saw an ad for Blue Apron I thought it would be a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone. It would get me out of my food rut and teach the two of us some new culinary skillz yo. It’s $60 a week for 3 meals that feed 2 adults. I rationalized that we normally spend at least $60 or more a week eating out. I went grocery shopping yesterday for the other 4 dinners plus packed lunches & breakfast for our family of 3 and the bill was $86. So, $86 + $60 = $146 a week on food. Not bad. My budget before was, well, hahaha, yeah, I sorta didn’t keep track too much but I’m guessing @ $200 a week.

Alright, now to get to the fun stuff. On the menu for this week; Fresh Fettucelle Bolognese, Seared Trout with Peach & Arugula Salad, and Jerk-Spiced Chicken with Rice & Beans.ImageThe first night we decided to make the Seared Trout with Peach & Arugula Salad. Potatoes & Peaches together in salad that sounds like an old car horn? ar-RU-GU-la! This is not common Ohio faire. Ohio State FAIR food yes, we’re familiar. Anything fried on a stick? yes, please. No? Not the same faire. This here is gour-MET.

H handled the trout searing and I made the salad. seared troutThey sent 3 oz of arugula but I swear it tripled in volume once I got it out of the ziplock bag.

peach, potato arugula

We use a mismatched set of old Corelle plates. I guess I could break down and buy some new plates for all these new fancy feasts.recipe #15

H got a whole fish and Tootie and I split one. It was plenty for all of us. The verdict? Thumbs up on the trout! The arugula got a 2 out of 3. Tootie was having none of it although she did eat the potatoes and peaches. We had garlic-shallot breath for the rest of the evening.

That was the first night. Next up, The Fresh Fettucelle Bolognese or Fresh FET-TU-CEE-BOL-BOL-BOL–oh hell, bologna noodles. See my daughter? Clearly, she is thrilled about our new culinary adventure. Instead of asking what’s for dinner in an uplifting voice she asked, “what. now?” I think the arugula was like a car horn to her. IMG_2691She did like it. Pasta isn’t her one of her favorites but she ate all of it. She has a pretty good palette for an average 10-year-old. These new recipes are going to stretch her a bit and I think that’s a really good thing in the long run. Thankfully, she’s not picky and will eat her dinner even if it’s not her first choice of food. Heck, aren’t we all like that? If I could have my first choice at every meal I’d be fixing ice cream & pretzels.

As you can see we are trying to expand our horizons. Ruts become ruts because they’re easy & comfortable. Unless it’s a deer rut and I’m guessing that’s not at all comfortable, at least not for the female deer. If you think about it, a hunter that never bags a deer in October could be said to be in a RUT rut. Call this week our official rut moving day from our food rut hut. Tonight is the Jerk-Chicken. Maybe I’ll serve it in a red plaid thermos and sing.

Kitchen Cabinets

This is what my kitchen looked like on walk-thru day.


We’ve slowly putting our personal stamp on our new home. Last weekend we tackled the kitchen. I really wanted the over the top extended handle look I’ve been seeing pop up on HGTV design shows. I never thought my husband would go for it so I didn’t even bring it up. Imagine my surprise when he held up a sample at the hardware store. So, yay, we went for it!



We really want to tackle the floor next but our budget needs to go to getting our lawn & the foundation of our landscaping beds installed. Ryan doesn’t do lawns in our community. I’m jealous of those of you who move in with landscaping. We need to get 90 yards of topsoil trucked in, a rock hound to pull up the million rocks we have, and place the boulders that were on our property to a more functional location. I’m excited to get this going as I’m tired of the dry clay rock weed garden we’re currently sporting.

To those of you still waiting to close, hang in there!

***We got the cabinet hardware at Lowes.

We Have Keys

We got the keys late afternoon today. I started moving boxes from storage immediately. Friends of ours helped us move our beds so we are sleeping here tonight! We don’t have anything else in. The movers come on Monday. We get our fridge & washer/dryer Friday.

We have lots of cleaning to do. Everything has a layer of dust on it and I can feel it in the air when I breath. I’m sensitive due to having asthma. It’s not bad just a little noticeable.

The house is beautiful. Everything I dreamed about and more. We met a couple neighbors and they are very nice.

I’m so happy to be sleeping in my own bed. I’ve missed it for 4 months. I’m so tired may fall asleep while typing this. Goodnight all.


Today is the day the VA appraiser goes to inspect our home. I’m trying to keep myself occupied while I wait by searching on Houz and googling kitchen cabinet handles, island counter stools, light fixtures, ceiling fans and window treatments. So many choices. My big debate is trying to decide between white wood blinds or roman shades. First world problems I know.

Here’s a photo my daughter took of me searching on my tablet and our dog who is sporting a newspaper wig she made for him.


She’s All Done

Our home is finished. All the work is done. Our fantastic PM sent me a couple photos so I could have a peek before our walk-thru. Now we wait for the VA to do their Appraisal so we can close. Praying that it all moves quickly and smoothly. I’m beyond ready to move and begin our new adventure in our new community. If we had moved in this week we would have caught the hot-air balloon festival. I guess we have that to look forward to next year.

Elevation B with Allendale Hill brick, front door Naval SW6244, shutters Brown SW7020, siding Pebble Clay, trim White

Kitchen Cabinets: Tahoe Cherry Bordeaux
Countertop: Santa Cecelia
Tile Backsplash: Heathland 6″x6″ on a grid White Rock HL01, Bone grout
We got the builder’s grade linoleum in the kitchen, foyer, mud & powder room and builder’s grade carpet in the dining & great room because we are going to put in porcelain tile that looks like planks of wood throughout the 1st floor. We need something that can withstand our 100lb doberman. Ideally, I would love to install radiant heat under tile.

So there she sits, waiting for her new owners. Here’s hoping the VA moves quickly. Praying that the VA appraiser writes his report quickly and favorably.

The Long Hallway


The Palermo floorplan has a long narrow hallway leading to the master bedroom. For those choosing not to get the bonus room there is an odd little bump out where the hallway suddenly becomes bigger right before the master bedroom door. It’s a bit strange to me. I’m kicking myself for not getting an electrical outlet anywhere down that hallway. I put them every where else including one going up the stairs but it didn’t cross my mind to put one there. Dang-it.

Now I’m spending my time searching pinterest for ideas on long hallways. I saw this from Ikeahackers.com I’m thinking I could create some type of built in storage into the nook area and continue the line of the table top along the narrow wall with a thin picture shelf that way it looks cohesive. Anyone have ideas or plans if you have the Palermo long hallway?